Dr Mansoor Ali
Article originally published in Vital informer June 2009
Applications for the External MD Courses in Homeopathy are again invited in India by organizations like Association of Managements of Homeopathic Medical Colleges of Maharashtra.
The post graduate course of three years duration in homoeopathy in India started in the year 1989. The 2 year external MD courses also started in the same year under the pretext that there were not adequate qualified hands to teach regular post graduate students. In the beginning the external PG course was restricted for the next 8 years starting from 1989. But somehow, it got extended to 8 more years in the year 2000 and again to one more year in 2008. Now again applications are invited for 2009.
The MD title displayed in the name boards of majority of the homoeopathic doctors of India are Fake in the sense that it is obtained by postal courses and not recognized by many of the universities or State Medical Councils.
The External MD- the real picture!!
We are now living in a time where science especially the medical science has reached such development that even genetic mapping and cloning are possible. But here in India one could get a post graduate medical degree in homoeopathy without attending classes and even without seeing a single patient.
SSLC – the basic qualification
In India the basic qualification for any post graduate level degree course is a university degree. But in homoeopathy the basic qualification for getting admission to this external MD course is a mere diploma for which the basic qualification is only a pass in matriculation!!
3 years for graduates and 2 years for diploma holders!!
Those who have passed BHMS after 5 ½ years of hard work, it is another 3 years of strenuous work to complete the MD course. But those who have passed 4 years diploma in homoeopathy, it is just a leisurely 2 years to get the MD degree by postal.
The deplorable situation is being continued for the last 20years in homoeopathy curriculum in our country. In regular MD course, after getting high ranks in the entrance examination conducted by the commissioner of entrance examinations one need to attend three years of regular classes in a medical college, where one will get intensive clinical training and teaching experiences. After that the student has to submit his research thesis and successfully complete examinations by the university where there are well defined curriculum. Also, one need to attend both outpatient and in patient department of the hospital, must teach the undergraduate students, and prepare dissertations and theses in regular intervals.
But alas! In external MD you can have your coveted MD degree in just two years even without attending a single class in the institution where you remitted your fee for admission to the course. The only thing required is – you have to attend seminars organized or presented by the so called guide. !
For regular MD courses, the student has face two examinations of 1 ½ years interval where there will be questions for 1000 marks in 6 subjects followed by practical’s and viva voce. But in external MD exams, there is just one exam at the end of second year for 400 marks that covers just 2 subjects?
Thus the gap between regular candidates and the external candidates is very wide. The continuation of the external P.G. course would defeat the concept of educational standards and excellence. The system of conferring Post-Graduate Medical Degrees by correspondence is opposed to all notions of organized training / education.
Two parallel Courses same time
It is nothing but just another “postal graduation”.
It is quite disturbing that the external MD course is still continuing even after thousands of regular MD graduates have success fully completed the courses in the last 20 years. Then what is the need of regular MD Courses?
The irony of the situation is that the certificates awarded by both regular and external MD courses are of equal value.
Foul play in CCH
This mockery of a course called external MD was started by none other than the central council of Homoeopathy, the appellate body of homoeopathy in India. The many members of CCH especially those in the highest echelons of power own homoeopathic institutions in various parts of our country. There are many such ‘Homoeopathic Medical Colleges’ in Northern states alone. When there were shortages of BHMS students to these institutions, the external MD course was invented to continue the flow of money to these institutions. In the beginning the capitation fee for the admission to the external MD courses were around 75,000/- but now it just around 25,000/- only.
The CCH was infamous for its corruption and nepotism. It now faces govt. enquiry for giving accreditation and recognition to many substandard institutions. Everybody knows that it is an unwritten rule that to get recognition to a homoeopathy college, the authorities should purchase medicine from some companies. Only due to virulent agitation by the homoeopathic student community, the decision to implement a 6 months course for MBBS graduates to practice homoeopathy was withdrawn.
Fate of Graded Degree
Earlier CCH had started 2 year regular Graded Degree Course for converting diploma holders into graduates. What was the need of that degree? Since last 20 years any diploma holder can take post-graduation without a graduation!! Those who took graded degree became fools!!
Fresh graduates too…
Though it started as a shortcut to get MD for diploma holders, now even young fresh graduates and teachers in homoeopathic medical colleges are opting for this easy way out.
Those who agitated against postal courses in homoeopathy earlier are now happily going for ‘postal post-graduation’ without any moral remorse. Many teachers in homoeopathy medical colleges are opting this as an easier method to get timely promotion and AICTE salary scale, though the MD is not in their subjects.
Even though authorities had claimed that External MD for teachers are for faculty improvement. There are MD faculties even in Anatomy, Gynaecology and Surgery departments!!. They took external MD in Repertory, materia Medica or Organon. How the faculty improvement occur if an Anatomy teacher took MD in Materia Medica?. Those who got chances to take regular MD in teacher’s quota even opt for postal MD- who wants to work hard if it is available else where for peanuts!?
Not recognized in Kerala and Andhra Pradesh
Only regular MD courses with 3 years of compulsory attendance is recognized in Kerala and Andhra Pradesh. Many law suites have been filed in high courts of Kerala to change this rule and to equalize the external MD with the regular MD course. There were attempts to start these external MD courses in colleges in Kerala but were compelled to cancelled the same due to student agitation and the timely interference of vigilant homoeopathic associations.
The doctors practicing in states are supposed to exhibit only those qualifications which are recognized by the concerned Medical Council. Those who purchased this external MD qualification conveniently opt to forget this rule.
In everywhere else the medical world is finding new horizons to improve the quality of education and treatment in all aspects, but in our country due to the selfish attitude and lack of morale of those controlling the growth and development of homoeopathy, the entire system is getting ridiculed by the introduction of useless and disastrous courses like external MD which is jeopardizing the development of entire homoeopathic system and its practitioners.
MD without a Single Leave from Clinic?
There were many instances of educated patients wondering and questioning their physician on getting his ‘MD” qualification in one fine morning without taking leave from clinic even for one week?!
Existence of Homeopathy
There are no external MD postal courses in Modern medicine and Ayurveda. It is quite evident from the following facts that this mockery of the course is detrimental to the existence of quality homoeopathy in India.
After the introduction of external MD in India, there are more than 5000 vacant seats in BHMS courses. Nobody is interested in a 5 ½ year course where there is 2 years post graduate postal degree? Even colleges with regular PG courses are straining due to lack of interested students.
By introducing the regular Post-Graduate studies in Homoeopathy, our system took a giant leap towards improving the standard and the quality in par with other prevalent systems of medical practice. But by trying to propagate and introduce the External M.D. programme, our Council has degraded the sole purpose of the Post-Graduate studies.
As per the Honorable supreme court judgment on February 25,2009 – 3 years regular postgraduate degree only should be considered for promotion and Central salary. Post graduate degree awarded by correspondence to students who did not have basic three year degree could not be treated on a par with PG degrees obtained after regular study from a recognized University. The degree become invalidated in terms of the provisions of the UGC act and UGC act are biding to all universities in India – A Bench consisting of Justice S.B.Sinha & Mukundam Sharma.
The need of the hour is a new CCH constituted with only those interested in the growth and development of homoeopathy and the wellbeing of homoeopathic physicians in this country. If possible it is better to start regular MD in all the 12 subjects of BHMS – so that teachers and students in other department also get a chance for a regular post-graduation.
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It is very bad that External M.D course is still running in some colleges. Definitely a regular course of 3 years is required for getting a post graduate course if you want to be an expert in the field. It is great time to remove the External M.D course from the curriculum $ also if possible to start the regular M.D course in all the 12 subjects in homoeopathy. This will help our system to get upgraded with the modern world.